Communication Craze Causes Costly Consequences

By , Scotch Plains, NJ
Texting has become a vital component of the modern world, seeping into the very culture of America. President Obama, mirroring the general public, has become so fixated upon this current trend in communication that despite worries over security
breaches on his “Crackberry” he refuses to give up this alternate way of conversing. However, the question remains: are the benefits of texting worth the drawbacks? Texting is an innovation that has not only complicated our lives as opposed to simplifying them; but it has also poisoned our society. People should limit texting as much as possible because texting while mobile endangers lives, leads to the acceptance of poor grammar and punctuation, and has a taxing effect on school habits and behavior.
To start with, texting while mobile endangers lives. For example, in an infamous 2008 accident, an 18-wheel semi truck - whose driver admitted to texting while on the road - rear-ended a school bus carrying 21 students. While the bus driver and 20 students made it out of the wreckage, 13-year-old Margay Shee was killed. Texters do not have to be behind the wheel to cause injury to themselves or others; there are numerous accounts of people, desperate to stay connected, becoming distracted by an incoming text. For instance, it was reported that a 13-year-old boy in Florida crossing the street was killed after stepping into the path of a car while looking down to send a text on his cell phone. In another incident a 15-year-old girl fell off her horse while texting, sustaining head back injuries. These casualties are needless as a result of people becoming careless and distracted.
Furthermore, texting leads to the acceptance of poor grammar and punctuation. Text messaging abbreviations are becoming integrated into schoolwork and formal writing. An entire “convo” could comprise of a few hundred characters, with “lol” substituting for “laugh out loud”, and the letter “k” in place of “O.K.” A growing trend sees typical messages simply containing many “lol”s or “k”s and very little else. Punctuation is often disregarded; sentences remain uncapitalized, emoticons are everywhere, and (multiple) explanation points appear to be the only endings to sentences. Vivid vocabulary has all but disappeared; the words are harder to type than more commonly used ones, which often have shortcuts.
Lastly, texting has a taxing effect on school habits and behavior. Students frequently text friends during class – for example, an anonymous survey given to students at the Southern Lee High School in Sanford, North Carolina found that 86.4 percent text during class, although cell phone usage was specifically addressed in the student handbook and forbidden – sidetracking students and detracting away from the lesson. A high-tech method students are cheating is by discreetly texting their friends for the answer. Outside of the classroom, texting can have an adverse effect on schoolwork as well. In an effort to literally stay connected 24/7, teens text long into the night, forming poor sleep habits, reducing focus and reflexes.
Many advocates of the alternate means of communication say that texting is a fast, effortless way for people to keep in touch. To the contrary, having to type out each character on a minuscule keyboard – especially one that is not a QWERTY – is time consuming and inefficient; orally communing is much easier and gets the message across more rapidly. In addition, texting too much can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, Annie Levitz, 16, developed numbness in both hands over the course of one year. She was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, the result of sending 3,500 to 4,000 messages per month. Says Dr. Sofia Aksentijevich, “[Carpal tunnel syndrome] is something to be expected from someone who does that much texting,” due to the repetitive hand movement.
In conclusion, texting is an innovation that has not only complicated our lives as opposed to simplifying them; but it has also polluted our society. Texting tempts travelers to make roads treacherous; many casualties are needless as a result of people becoming careless and distracted. Texting leads to the acceptance of poor grammar and punctuation, torturing English teachers, and punctuation is often disregarded; sentences remain uncapitalized, emoticons are everywhere, and (multiple) explanation points appear to be the only endings to sentences. Texting tantalizes students to take shortcuts in addition to detracting away from lessons. Texting is a poisonous passion; much like the ill-fated adoration of Romeo and Juliet, the world’s infatuation with this alternate method of communication will end tragically.





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